Crown Estate pledges billions to build new UK laboratories

Proactive Investors – Britain’s Crown Estate will spend £1.5 billion over the next ten years turning properties into laboratories across the UK.

Starting with Oxford City’s old Debenhams store, the King’s property firm will purchase the property for £125 million and redevelop it into laboratory space.

Debenhams’ Oxford store, which has been closed for around three years, will undergo construction to build the labs within the next year and is expected to be operational within the next three to four.

A push for additional lab space comes after the UK government developed a desire to become a science superpower but found there were not enough sites to house start-ups and university spin-offs.

Shortage of lab space has been particularly rife in the ‘Golden Triangle’, the area between Cambridge, Oxford and London.

The Crown Estate has begun working with Pioneer Group, the lab space developer, to renovate the properties, and Oxford Science Enterprises, the venture capital group commercialising university research-led technologies.

“Science, technology and innovation are vital growth sectors for the UK as the nation looks to cement its position at the forefront of innovation globally,” Dan Labbad, chief executive of the Crown Estate, said.

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